Shabbat Shalom family,
Pilipiyim/Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not worry at all, but in every matter, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to Elohim. 7 And the peace of Elohim, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Messiah יהושע.”
As we continue to sojourn as faithful ambassadors of Messiah, fervently proclaiming His Kingdom to come, we are promised the sure provision and protection of our hearts and minds through יהושע Messiah. The question I ask you tonight is this – do you have the ‘peace of Elohim’? The peace of Elohim surpasses all understanding! The Greek word for ‘understanding’ is νοῦς nous – Strong’s G3563 and means, ‘mind, understanding, reason, intellect’ and speaks of the faculties of the mind that perceives and comprehends. What Sha’ul is saying here is that we should not worry at all – that is not to worry or get stressed out when things do not seem to make sense, but rather in every matter present our petitions and prayers with thanksgiving to Elohim, and we have the assurance that His Shalom, which we cannot fully comprehend, will guard our hearts and minds. In other words we ought to have the continual peace/shalom of Elohim regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in – the question is do you; and if you do not …why not?
Tonight I want us to consider what it means to be strengthened and filled with the shalom of Elohim, and how we as ambassadors can faithfully proclaim His Kingdom, where there is continual Shalom.
In a message tonight called, ‘SITTING UNDER THE VINE AND THE FIG TREE’, I would like us to look at this repeated picture we see being spoken of in Scripture, which is a clear idiom for protection, prosperity and of course the shalom of our Master and King יהושע Messiah! The base point for this message is from a verse in:
Melaḵim Aleph/1 kings 4:25 “And Yehuḏah and Yisra’ĕl dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Be’ĕrsheḇa, all the days of Shelomoh.”
This is a powerful shadow picture of the Millennial Reign of Messiah, our King of Shalom! Shelomoh’s name means ‘peace’ and here we see the effect of the reign of the king of peace – both Houses (Yehuḏah and Yisra’ĕl) dwelt safely! While there had not yet been a physical split and a divide of the reign of Yisra’ĕl into two Houses, we do know that when Dawiḏ came back to Yerushalayim to reign for 33 years there was already some division between the tribes, and by this account of naming the two houses as dwelling in peace under the reign of Shelomoh is a very powerful prophetic statement that points to the reign of peace that is coming again when Messiah comes to establish His reign here on earth, bringing back the Two Houses of Yehuḏah and Yisra’ĕl back as one in Him. This phrase, ‘each man under his vine and his fig tree’ is repeated in Scripture a few times which we will certainly look at and get a better understanding of what that means for us; and what we can firstly take note of is that this phrase is a beautiful metaphor for peace and safety for the set-apart and called out ones of Yisra’ĕl. Before we look at further verses and dig a little deeper into what the vine and fig tree symbolise for us, what we can also see from this reign of peace is how each man dwelt under his own vine and fig tree – in other words, nobody took another’s, and the king did not take anyone’s property like other kings would do, as prophesied by Shemuʼěl in regards to the sovereign who would reign over them, after Yisra’ĕl was crying out for their own sovereign, so that they too could be like the nations who had their own sovereigns:
Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 8:14 “And the best of your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive-trees he is going to take and give them to his servants.”
King Aḥaḇ took possession of Naḇoth’s land after Izeḇel had him killed because he refused to give away his inheritance.
(Melaḵim Aleph/1Kings 21)
Here under the reign of Shelomoh we have the picture of true peace where each man could safely dwell in, and reap of, the produce of his own land, without fear of it being taken from him! We are told that they dwelt safely all the days of Shelomoh from Dan to Be’ĕrsheḇa. Dan – דָּן – Strong’s H1835 means, ‘judge’, and בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע Be’ĕrsheḇa – Strong’s H884 means, ‘well of oath, or well of 7’, from two words: Seven in Hebrew is the primitive root word – שֶׁבַע sheḇa – Strong’s H7651 and from this word we get the denominative verb – שָׁבַע shaḇa – Strong’s H7650 which means, ‘to swear, exchange oaths, take an oath, vow’, and the Hebrew word for ‘well’ is בְּאֵר be‘er – Strong’s H875 and means, ‘well, pit’ which comes from the primitive root word בָּאַר ba‘ar – Strong’s H874 which means, ‘to make distinction, to make plain, expound on, inscribe’ and by analogy it means ‘to engrave’ and figuratively it carries the understanding, ‘to explain, make clear, declare’.
It is also at Be’ĕrsheḇa that:
1 – Aḇraham called upon the Name of יהוה, the Everlasting Ěl – אֵל עוֹלָם – Ěl Olam! Berěshith/Genesis 21:33
2 – Yitsḥaq built an alter and called upon the Name of יהוה, after יהוה appeared to him – Berěshith/Genesis 26:23-25
3 – Ya’aqoḇ brought offerings to יהוה and יהוה spoke to him and confirmed the Covenant – Berěshith/Genesis 46:1-3
This prophetic promise of the coming Kingdom Reign of Messiah is clearly shadow pictured here, as we see that from the One Judge, יהושע Messiah who confirms and restores the oaths/covenants of promise in His own Blood shall give us His shalom!
What we can also recognise here is that the concept of the territorial description of Dan to Be’ĕrsheḇa also pictures for us unity as a body of Messiah:
Shophetim/Judges 20:1 “And all the children of Yisra’ĕl came out, from Dan to Be’ĕrsheḇa, and from the land of Gil’ad, and the congregation assembled as one man before יהוה at Mitspah.”
In verse 20 of Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 4 we are told that Yehuḏah and Yisra’ĕl were as numerous as the sand by the sea and were eating and drinking and rejoicing – this too is a prophetic picture of fulfilment according to the promises given to Aḇraham. While we recognise the joy of the reign of a king of peace in type, we also take note of the words we see in:
Romiyim/Romans 14:17 “For the reign of Elohim is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Set-apart Spirit.”
While Yehuḏah and Yisra’ĕl certainly did eat and drink and rejoice, we must realise that the reign of Elohim is not about these things – sure we will have our abundant supply and be filled with great joy, but the fact of the matter is clear – His reign is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Set-Apart Spirit. We know that this eating and drinking and rejoicing did not last for Yehuḏah and Yisra’ĕl, who were sent into captivity for disobedience and lack of true righteousness, peace and joy in Elohim, as they whored after the nations by walking according to the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life – which we are warned will get us kicked out of the reign if we do not throw off the things of the flesh!!!
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25 “And it is righteousness for us when we guard to do all this command before יהוה our Elohim, as He has commanded us.”
Eating and drinking is not what the kingdom is about – you will remember how when Aharon made a golden calf and built an altar and proclaimed, “Tomorrow is a festival to יהוה”, and the next day all the people rose up to eat and drink and play! This was not living the kingdom lifestyle, and יהוה was wroth with them and wanted to consume them for their abominable worship as they ate and drank and rejoiced while having cast aside righteousness as they turned quickly out of the way that יהוה had commanded them! (Shemoth/Exodus 32). Without righteousness we have no peace with Elohim, and those who turn aside from the commands can eat and drink and rejoice as much as they want and assume to be subjects of the coming Kingdom, yet will be thrown out for being lawless!
We see how this picture of sitting under the vine and the fig tree plays a very powerful role in Scripture, in determining the state of the nation of a Covenanted people of Elohim. In Yirmeyahu we see the picture of judgement being poured out for disobedience, with the analogy of the vines and fig trees being destroyed, in:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 5:17 “And they shall eat up your harvest and your bread, which your sons and daughters should eat. They shall eat up your flocks and your herds, they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees. With the sword they shall demolish your walled cities, in which you are trusting.”
Their security and safety would be taken away because they had forsaken Elohim and were foolish people without heart, who had eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear – it is no different today as we see so many foolish hearts around today, hearts that do not fear יהוה and tremble at His presence!
While having been scattered for disobedience, there is a promise of a return to the reign of shalom, under the True King, and we see this prophetic promise of the Millennial reign of Messiah being spoken of Miḵah/Micah, and is described in:
Miḵah/Micah 4:4 “But each one shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of יהוה of hosts has spoken.”
We again see these words in:
Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 3:10 “In that day,’ declares יהוה of hosts, ‘you shall invite one another, under the vine and under the fig tree.”
The picture of dwelling under the vine and fig tree speaks of an undisturbed enjoyment – just as we see the words of how Yehuḏah and Yisra’ĕl dwelt under the vine and fig tree all the days of Shelomoh. Well we know that our King lives forever, therefore giving us the assurance of a promise of an undisturbed and everlasting enjoyment in His Kingdom.
While we have this prophetic message made very clear for us in Scripture, we also must take note that we do have an adversary, the devil, who walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour; and we are called to be watchful and sober and on guard against his cunning tactics of deception and falsehood. During the reign of Ḥizqiyah, the sovereign of Ashshur came up against Yerushalayim and mocked their ability to trust in יהוה, and tried to give false messages of hope by using these analogies of the vine and the fig tree, as we see in:
Melaḵim Bět/2 Kings 18:31 “Do not listen to Ḥizqiyahu, for thus said the sovereign of Ashshur, ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me, and let each of you eat from his own vine and each from his own fig tree, and each of you drink the waters of his own cistern”
This wicked sovereign of Ashshur sent a message that was calling for Yehuḏah to make peace with him and give him presents and even his message promised that they could continue to eat from the vine and fig tree, until he comes and takes them away to a land like their own land. Now why would they want to be taken away to a land like their own when all they had to do was trust in יהוה, and dwell safely!!! This is how crafty the enemy can be, and he is often very successful in luring away the weak-hearted who do not know the Word of Truth and are unable to discern between the profane and set-apart! Ḥizqiyah – חִזְקִיָּה Strong’s H2396 means, ‘יהוה is my strength’, and the enemy was certainly trying to sap the strength of Yehuḏah, while sounding like he was promising them greater and better things! Ḥizqiyah was a good king, he walked in the ways of Dawiḏ and did what was right in the eyes of יהוה. He destroyed the Asherah poles, took away the high places and smashed down the pillars, and he even broke the bronze serpent that Mosheh had made, because up until those days Yisra’ĕl were burning incense to it and calling it Neḥushtan, which means, ‘bronze thing’; and as you will recall that Mosheh made this after a plague was sent into the camp for rebellion, and those who looked upon the bronze serpent would be healed. This was a shadow picture of Messiah being lifted up on a pole and impaled to become a curse for us and take away our sins. This object became an object of worship to Yisra’ĕl and was abominable in the eyes of יהוה. In seeing this, we can see how Christianity has done the same thing as they idolise and worship the cross, which is a picture of a curse!!! Those whom יהוה strengthens to walk in righteousness are ready to destroy all forms of idolatry, and this angers the enemy, who seeks to be worshipped; and in this account of mockery from the king of Ashshur, with the promises of a counterfeit truth we are able to recognise more clearly how Christianity has done the same thing; as they are willing to accept false substitutes by replacing the True Feasts of יהוה with pagan sun-worship feasts; and in doing so they promote the image of a king who they believe persuades them to leave the Torah behind!
The enemy may promise the ability to sit under the vine and fig tree, yet he cannot produce, for he is not the True Vine!
The Vine and the fig tree are a picture of being strengthened in the Truth and being equipped to walk in loving obedience to the Torah of Elohim:
Yo’ĕl/Joel 2:21-23 “Do not fear, O soil, be glad and rejoice, for יהוה has done greatly! 22 Do not fear, you beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness shall spring forth, and the tree shall bear its fruit, the fig tree and the vine shall yield their strength. 23 And you children of Tsiyon, be glad and rejoice in יהוה your Elohim, for He shall give you the Teacher of Righteousness, and cause the rain to come down for you, the former rain and the latter rain, as before.”
The vine and the fig tree shall yield their strength – and the way they ‘yield their strength’ is through having been watched and tended carefully. When we guard the Master – that is guard His commands – we allow His word to shape us and equip us, which is a picture of tending the fig tree:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 27:18 “He who tends the fig tree eats its fruit; and he who guards his master is esteemed.”
In order to get a better understanding of the vine and the fig tree, we need to recognise how their natural characteristics display for us symbols of security, prosperity, blessing – that is shalom; and what we need to recognise from an agricultural perspective is that vines need great care. They require years of watchful cultivation before bearing any fruit, and a vineyard requires more labour than other forms of agriculture. They constantly need pruning in order to allow the grapes to grow to full maturity, and when we hear these things we can see how we, as the branches of the true Vine, are the same – Our Father is the Gardner who prunes us, in order that we bear much fruit; and that which does not bear fruit is taken away, and so we are called to stay in Messiah, by walking as He walked, bearing the fruit of righteousness and bringing us to full maturity in Him!
The fig tree was and still is greatly valued for its fruit and the shade one gets from its leaves, and many say that it is the coolest tree to sit under in the Summer heat! Figs were an integral part of the staple diet of Yisra’ĕl, and was also a key source of natural sugar, along with dates. These trees are very slow growing in nature and require years to bear substantially. They also bear crops twice a year. The fig tree also represents for us being under the shelter of the Most High, being safe even under the heat of heavy persecution. In Scripture we are shown how the fig tree is a picture of covering as we see in:
Berěshith/Genesis 3:7 “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made loin coverings for themselves.”
While we are not directly told what fruit Ḥawwah ate, we are told what tree they made leaves for themselves from, and there is the thought that they actually took the leaves from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which could quickly dispel the myth that Ḥawwah ate an apple, yet we cannot know for certain. What we do know is that they took fig leaves – they are big leaves and can give a better covering than most leaves.
What we need to also take note of is that the fig tree is the last tree to produce leaves, which happens right before summer, and we are given this analogy of the fig tree as a sign of the end times:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 24:32 “And learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that the summer is near.”
The parable of the fig tree is simple – be sober, watchful and awake, and we can also learn from the fig tree teachings of Messiah how we are to be ready in and out of season!! Sha’ul told Timotiyos to be ready in and out of season – to proclaim the Kingdom:
Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 4:2 “Proclaim the Word! Be urgent in season, out of season. Reprove, warn, appeal, with all patience and teaching.”
Many of you may recall how Messiah cursed the fig tree for not having fruit, even though it was not the season for its fruit; and while at first glance may have seemed to be unfair, we are able to learn from this the clear message that He was giving. With the prophetic words of Yo’ĕl/Joel 2 which I mentioned earlier, we can see how the vine and fig tree would also be a figurative sign of the coming of Messiah. While the King of Shalom was in their midst, they rejected Him and is a picture of how they did not recognise Him, for the fig tree is a sign of His coming reign and the fig tree had no fruit. This was a clear picture of a lack of faith. The King was here and He saw no fruit of righteousness – the very message we are given regarding Yisra’ĕl in Yirmeyahu 8; and in words of judgement for idolatrous rebellion we see in:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 8:13 “I shall snatch them away,” declares יהוה. “There are no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf has faded. And what I gave them shall pass away from them.”
They were turning their backs on the truth and worshipping idols and falling to pagan customs and worship traditions of man – the same thing was happening when Messiah came, and by cursing the fig tree He was making this very clear!!!
The clear message we can take from this is how we are to be a watchful and awake people, who are proclaiming the Kingdom and bearing the fruit of righteousness.
The fig tree can also be a picture of healing for us, as seen in what Yeshayahu instructed to be done to Ḥizqiyahu, as seen in:
Melaḵim Bět/2 Kings 20:7 “And Yeshayahu said, “Take a cake of figs.” And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.” (also in Yeshayahu/Isaiah 38:21)
Messiah is our Healer and by His stripes we are healed and so we can from Scripture see how Messiah is both the True Vine and the Fig Tree, and when He comes again will He find faith – that is faith with works of righteousness in walking in the clear commands of Elohim!
Luqas/Luke 18:8 “I say to you that He shall do right to them speedily. But when the Son of Aḏam comes, shall He find the belief on the earth?”
When we are firmly rooted in Him and guard His commands we shall bear much fruit and we can see this connection to being a firmly rooted tree in reference to the righteous who delight in the Torah and meditate day and night on it:
Tehillim/Psalm 1:3 “For he shall be as a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither, and whatever he does prospers.”
Dwelling or sitting under the vine and fig tree is also symbolic of being a hearing people, who listen attentively to the commands and guard to do them. The Hebrew word translated as ‘dwelt’ or ‘sit’ is יָשַׁב yashab – Strong’s H3427 meaning, ‘sit, dwell, remain, abide, inhabit, sitting still’ and a modern word derived from this word which is translated as school is ‘yeshiva’. And ‘sitting’ in the Hebraic min-set is an idiom for learning; and it is at the Master’s Feet that we come and sit and drink of His Pure and Clear Living Water and get great clarity and insight and strength to sojourn with joy! The idea of sitting in the Hebrew mind-set here is to learn, and not to simply sit and vegetate but rather sit and pay attention to the instructions of their teacher.
While Messiah did curse the fig tree as a clear warning of how there was a lack of righteousness, there certainly was some who were guarding the Word; and we can see this from the account where Nethanĕ’l was sitting under the fig tree in Yoḥanan/John 1.
After Philip was called by Messiah, he went and found Nethanĕ’l and told him that they had found the One whom Mosheh wrote of in the Torah and in the prophets. Nethanĕ’l then went to see and when Messiah saw him He said that Nethanĕ’l was one in whom there was no deceit. Nethanĕ’l asks how יהושע knew him and Messiah told him how he saw him sitting under the fig tree before Philip called him, and at these words Nethanĕ’l made the clear and bold statement of faith by declaring that יהושע was the Son of Elohim, and Sovereign of Yisra’ĕl! יהושע then told him that he would see even greater things as he would see messengers ascending and descending upon the Son of Aḏam! This would certainly have caused Nethanĕ’l to be reminded of the event where Ya’aqoḇ dreamed and saw messengers of Elohim going up and coming down and was given the promise given to Aḇraham and Yitsḥaq. Ya’aqoḇ then named that place Bĕyth Ĕl. נְתַנְאֵל Nethanĕ’l – Strong’s H5417 means, ‘given of Ĕl’, and here was a faithful servant who knew the Scriptures and when he heard the voice of Messiah He knew the voice of the true Vine and Master and King:
Yoḥanan/John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
The time was ‘ripe’ and while most did not recognise Messiah, this ‘given one of El’ did – Messiah found a faithful servant in whom there was no deceit!
This is encouraging for us in showing us that it does not matter how blind the masses are, we whose eyes have been opened can still guard His commands, sit and learn under the hand of our Master and have no deceit in us… the question is when He does come again… shall He find you walking in faith or in deceit!!! Are you sitting under the True Vine and the True Fig Tree!!!
In Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 24 the prophet is shown in a vision 2 baskets of figs, one good and the other spoilt. The good figs would be protected by Elohim and brought back to the Promised Land and built up again as a nation. The spoilt ones were the ones who had rejected His Word and rebelled and hardened their hearts to His Truth, and they would be thrown out and trampled underfoot!
The message is clear – a good tree bears good fruit and cannot bear bad fruit – and a bad tree bears bad fruit and cannot bear good fruit. The enemy has a counterfeit fig tree – a bad tree and all who are grafted into his tree, due to a hardening of their hearts to the Truth, will bear fruit of lawlessness, while those who are grafted in to the Covenants of Promise by the Blood of Messiah will bear good fruit of righteousness and have shalom!
Like Nethanĕ’l who was found without deceit amidst a deceitful nation, so too must we be encouraged to also be found without deceit as we guard our Master!
The time is near and the Day of יהוה draws closer and closer every day – we must be steadfast in sitting under the Vine and Fig tree – that is seeking Wisdom and meditating on His commands as we find refuge in Him under the intense heat of the persecution and mockery from the enemy.
Ḥaḇaqquq/Habakkuk 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree does not blossom, and there is no fruit on the vine, the yield of the olive has failed, and the fields brought forth no food, the flock has been cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I exult in יהוה, I rejoice in the Elohim of my deliverance. 19 יהוה the Master is my strength. And He makes my feet like those of deer, and makes me walk on my high places. To the chief singer with my stringed instruments.”
We need to make the bold confession that declares that no matter how there is clear evidence we live amidst a wicked and adulterous generation that lacks faith due to weakened hearts and have no fruit of the Spirit – we shall exult in יהוה who is our STRENGTH!!!
יהושע is the King of Shalom! The king of Ashshur tried to offer a promise of peace but could not deliver – we serve an Elohim and Saviour and King that does deliver us from all evil. I ask you whether you are ‘sitting under the Vine and the Fig Tree’? Do you have the shalom of Elohim that surpasses understanding or do you find yourself fretting over stuff???
As ambassadors of the Coming Reign, may we proclaim that which is coming by living according to the Reign of Elohim, where we have constant peace and true reverence with contentment – for in that there is great gain!
Tehillim/Psalm 29:11 “ יהוה gives strength to His people; יהוה blesses His people with peace.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 26:3 “The one steadfast of mind You guard in perfect peace, for he trusts in You.”
In understanding the prophetic pictures of the vine and the fig tree may we be found daily to be a people who are steadfast of mind, trusting in our Great King who gives us strength and blesses us with His shalom – a shalom that surpasses understanding! Give ones of El – be sober, awake and watchful – for our King is coming soon!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you SHALOM!